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Delhi HC Directs Constitution of Board to Examine Minor Rape Victim for Termination of 24-Wk Pregnancy

File photo of Delhi High Court.

File photo of Delhi High Court.

The Union Cabinet had last week approved extending the upper limit for permitting abortions from the present 20 weeks to 24 weeks for 'special categories of women'.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the constitution of a medical board to examine a minor rape victim, who is seeking permission to terminate her 24-week pregnancy.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru asked the medical superintendent of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital to forthwith constitute the board to examine the condition of the 16-year-old girl and expeditiously submit the report on whether continuing the pregnancy will pose any risk to her health.

The board shall also include a psychiatrist, the court said. The court, which listed the matter for February 6, requested the concerned doctor to be present during the hearing.

The court further said that it would also interact with the girl and her parents, who were present during the hearing, on the next date and asked them to be there.

The petition, filed through the girl's mother, is aggrieved as Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act does not permit termination of pregnancy in case the period of gestation is more than 20 weeks.

The plea filed through advocates Anwesh Madhukar and Prachi Nirwan, said the pregnancy poses a substantial risk to the girl as she herself is of tender age.

Advocate Kamna Vohra, representing the State, said the court may pass direction for examination of the girl by a medical board.

The plea said the rape victim was examined by doctors at a government hospital here on January 25 and she was found to be 24 weeks pregnant.

Pursuant to this, a case of rape and criminal intimidation was lodged at Swaroop Nagar Police Station here.

The doctor has opined that since the period of gestation is more than 20 weeks, it is beyond the permissible limit and court's permission is required for pregnancy termination.

The Union Cabinet had last week approved extending the upper limit for permitting abortions from the present 20 weeks to 24 weeks for "special categories of women" which would include rape survivors, victims of incest, differently-abled and minors, an official statement said.

The Cabinet gave its nod to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 and it would be introduced in the Budget session of Parliament which began on January 31.

first published:February 04, 2020, 13:56 IST